Movie Marketing Guide in the Digital Era - Expert Strategies

movie marketing
Updated on 28/11/2023

A compelling movie marketing campaign is an excellent start toward guaranteeing a film's success at the box office. Even major film studios like Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, and Walt Disney Pictures spend north of $150 million in their marketing efforts, whether done by their in-house team or outsourced to professional movie marketing agencies. Despite already having a huge following, they're doing all these, which shows how crucial film marketing is.

Moreover, the film industry is an ever-changing landscape — just look at how streaming platforms are cutting into the market share of traditional theaters. According to a study conducted by the market research group IFOP, 29% of their respondents said they go "less often" to cinemas, while 11% said they "no longer" attend theaters. With the rise of streaming providers like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, movie producers must also change their film marketing strategies.

There's another hitch in this trend: it's not just in the viewing experience that almost everything is turning digital. Even the "marketing side" itself is becoming reliant on the various digital media outlets. Movie producers are funneling their marketing efforts into digital channels and social media platforms.

Before we get to the digitalization of film promotion, let's first define what film marketing is all about.

What is Movie Marketing?

Movie marketing (film marketing) is the process of promoting and building awareness of a particular film. In its fundamental sense, a movie producer invests boatloads of resources in film marketing to generate interest in their product. Quoting a film terminology, you "build suspense" until the film's release date.

As you might have guessed by now, film marketing takes different forms. Of course, the most obvious among these are the movie posters. These have been a staple in the industry, although it doesn't have the same impact as it once had. Movie posters and billboard advertisements may not go away, but other forms of marketing materials are already taking over.

To create engaging movie marketing campaigns in the movie industry, you must stay on top of trends in your target market. Paying attention to the small details could have significant effects in the long run, especially in independent film marketing, where the film producers don't have large budgets. You may have a good movie with a good script in your hands, but people may not be able to watch it if you fail to develop an impactful marketing plan.

Traditional and Digital Film Marketing

As mentioned above, traditional promotional materials are seeing less value today. For this reason, businesses are moving away from traditional marketing and getting more reliant on digital marketing. Based on Statista research, budgets for traditional marketing are getting reduced, while digital marketing budgets are still seeing continuous growth.

This trend between traditional and digital marketing can also be applied to films and movies. For instance, a new film could get more traction from word of mouth within social media than from posters or billboard advertising. This is how the industry is being reshaped today, and a good marketing campaign should be able to adapt to this trend.

In today's highly digitalized world, a film marketing plan has to revolve around virtual channels.

gruvi banner

Your Movie Marketing Done Right

Let professionals take care of your movie's success.

Contact Gruvi

Film Marketing Channels in the Digital Era

Along with the fact that you can reach a broader audience on virtual advertising channels, digital marketing also presents an easier way to measure performance and engagement. Most, if not all, virtual channels offer in-house tools that let you observe how well your campaign is doing. These insights allow you to immediately pull out your campaign if it's not adequately reaching your potential audiences.

On the other hand, you can just build up your current digital marketing campaign if it's doing really well. This ensures that your film will continue engaging with your target audience and even reach a new market if you're lucky.

With all their benefits, here are some of the digital marketing channels the filmmakers use to promote their new films.

film marketing

Social Media

Social media platforms are at the top of the list of digital marketing channels for many reasons. Of course, the big audience is the most apparent benefit. There are already 4.80 billion social media users in 2023, which is projected to increase to six billion within the next four years.

Moreover, people spend an average of 144 minutes daily using social media and messaging apps. So it's not just about reaching a broader audience on social media; you also have a chance to engage with users who spend a lot of time on these apps.

If you're planning to promote your film on social media, here are some of the specific channels and apps that you might want to consider:

  • Facebook has seen close to 3 billion monthly users, and 67.5% of those users are active on a daily basis.
  • TikTok users spend an average of 10.85 minutes per session, earning the title of the most engaging social media app.
  • Twitter is seeing a 30% usage growth among people aged 17 to 34.
  • Instagram is the fourth-most used social media app, only trailing Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp.

As you can see, social media has already become a hub for social activities. It's an excellent avenue for filmmakers and producers to post teasers, official trailers, and press releases.

Streaming Platforms

To be clear, this section is dedicated to marketing your film on streaming platforms. It's not about how you can get streaming services to purchase your full movie.

With digital marketing in mind, the most used streaming platform could be YouTube. YouTube has been used for marketing purposes for decades, and it's giving marketers good value for their money.

Along with the fact that you can tap into its big user base, consumers also find more relevant ads on YouTube. Per Google, a 2022 study discovered that 59% of their respondents view YouTube ads as more relevant than ads presented on television and other streaming platforms.

So if you're putting up a film marketing strategy for independent films and other movies, you could take advantage of YouTube's marketing power.

Search Engine Optimization

Having a big social media presence is certainly an advantage, but there is also another avenue to generate leads for your upcoming film. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has now become a must-use marketing strategy, even in promoting an indie film or other films.

SEO's unique value is it targets what people are searching for on the Internet. You could reach your market's core audience and engage with other demographic as well. If you could take advantage of SEO's capabilities, there's no doubt that your film audience will see drastic growth.

If you have a dedicated website for your movie, that would be a significant advantage. Otherwise, you can still use SEO on prominent search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

In the SEO realm, it's important to emphasize the significance of relying on the most essential Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Some of the most essential SEO KPIs are organic search traffic, revenue from organic search traffic, and ROI from SEO investment.

By closely monitoring these KPIs, you can ensure that your SEO strategy not only enhances visibility but also drives relevant and valuable traffic to your film's website. This data-driven approach empowers you to make informed decisions, refine your SEO efforts, and achieve the best results in promoting your film.

Television Commercials

In an era dominated by social media and streaming services, you'll be surprised to know that television is still a viable marketing channel. Significant events such as professional sports competitions are still mostly aired on TV, which means that it still wields a level of marketing and advertising power.

To make the most out of your television ads, always check which are the primetime slots for each channel. The costs could be higher, but chances are the returns will be more rewarding. Don't be absorbed too much in the technicalities; crafting an engaging film commercial is still the priority.

film marketing plan

Stages of Film Marketing

Developing a film marketing strategy is not done overnight or even within days and weeks. Even observing the trends in your target market could take several months. This goes on to say that a successful film marketing strategy depends on patience, attention to detail, and a lot of creativity.

The filmmaking process connects the different sectors of production, marketing, and theatrics into one finished product. Let's talk about the marketing side in the following section.

Observe the trends in your target market

Before you strategize how you could encourage people to buy tickets to your movie, you first have to know who these people are. Who are your target audience, and what are their wants? If you could properly answer this question, you'll get the most value out of your production costs.

Of course, you can't pinpoint a specific audience right away. The better route to take is to create a list of potential target markets and then take your time observing how these audiences behave. Do their tendencies and demands fit the story that you're pushing? What kind of movies and content are they usually searching on the Internet?

When you feel that a specific market fits the theme of your movie, then that's the signal that you can plan your marketing materials.

Plan the structure of your digital campaigns

Planning your advertising campaigns is part of your movie's pre-production process. Your marketing team should be able to identify the proper digital channels to put up your ads and teasers. This ensures that your marketing efforts are funneled to your target audience.

Invest in video marketing

In a world where people get most information online, video content is getting traction more than ever. The demand for video content is increasing, and who can blame the people? Videos elicit more interest, and they are easier to consume.

Creating a dynamic trailer has always been a solid advertising channel for filmmakers. However, you could also invest time in other video content like behind-the-scenes footage, an interview with the lead actors, and even a background story of how the producers and writers created the film's plot.

With creatively-crafted video content, filmmakers can reach more audiences before showing on the big screen. The process might cost you more money, but it could eventually pay dividends in the end.

Collaborate with suitable partners

Film marketers should know that partnerships could provide a unique advertising path. Collaborating with suitable brands could generate interest from other markets, which means that you're getting diversified attention.

Of course, brand collaborations don't come cheap. Potential partners might have high asking prices, so you need to make sure that their market has a potential value for your upcoming movie. This is also the reason why building connections and relationships is important in the film industry.

You don't just forge lasting friendships with influential people, but you'll also get the word-of-mouth benefit. If you're one of those independent filmmakers who don't have boatloads of movie marketing budget, these connections will come in handy.

gruvi banner

Your Movie Marketing Done Right

Let professionals take care of your movie's success.

Contact Gruvi

Analyze the metrics

As mentioned before, one benefit of digital marketing channels is they provide real-time performance metrics. Here's a piece of good advice: don't ignore these metrics.

Your campaign stats will tell you how well you reach your target audiences. Pay attention to these metrics and analyze how the trends change in specific time slots and days. This gives you an idea regarding the best time to post your film trailers and teasers.

If your campaign is not doing well, you can wait for it to kick in but do know that not all opportunities are for the better. Don't hesitate to pull out one of your digital marketing campaigns. It's a trial-and-error process that lets you get creative on all fronts.

Create written content too

Along with your video content, you should also invest in written content too. If your film or production company has its own dedicated website, writing blogs or articles could be good film promotion. It could be a feature column with direct quotes from your lead actors, or an op-ed piece centered around your movie’s themes.

Moreover, you can also promote your film on movie review websites and other media outlets. If your film nets an excellent review on these outlets, it's almost a sure thing that you can reel in more audiences.

independent film marketing

Ask for feedback

Arguably the most overlooked aspect of a film's post-production, feedback from viewers and critics will always be vital to your long-term goals. If you're really bent on improving your craft as a filmmaker or film marketer, asking for feedback is the way to go.

You could get feedback from a film review website or even ask a film critic to comment on your film. Moreover, you can also check what people say on social media platforms. These are usually unfiltered comments that may hurt but will also help you if you take them constructively.

Try your hand at film festivals

In most cases, entering your movie at a film festival does not come free. Still, the returns could be awesome, as you’re getting a whole lot of exposure not just for your movie but for yourself as well.

If you’re an independent filmmaker, participating in film festivals is a great way to showcase your unique talents. If you’re lucky, you can even win awards and attract distribution offers from movie acquisition companies.

Outsource your marketing efforts

Wearing too many hats simultaneously could strip your movie of its potential. Why not focus all your creative juices on your content, and then let a professional movie marketing agency take care of getting the word out? 

Promoting your film is a tricky business, but the good thing is you can rely on professional marketers. They know how to pique your target audience’s interest, and they will squeeze out every bit of potential from your movie. 

Let's Put Your Content Out There

As one of the leaders in international movie marketing, Gruvi specializes in creating customer-driven marketing strategies for all kinds of content. We have a vast marketing influence on high-demand industries, including cinema, gaming, streaming, television, and other entertainment events. 

Contact us today, and let's join forces in crafting the best content and movie marketing plan for your target audience.

Share this article:
movie marketing